Texas is making it more difficult for women to get abortions, and Politico can't hide its concern


Politico reports this week on "How Texas is beating the Supreme Court on abortion."

This is a typical mainstream media treatment of abortion, as the news organization tells the story almost entirely from the perspective of pro-choice activists.

Yes, Politico quotes a few pro-life sources. But mostly, the piece frames the issue in terms favorable to the abortion-rights side.

Let's start at the top:

AUSTIN, Texas — When Texas lost a major abortion case before the Supreme Court last year, the state’s conservative lawmakers didn’t back down.
Republicans who control both chambers of the Legislature responded with about four dozen new anti-abortion bills this session, positioning the state to continue to be one of the most restrictive in the country, where women in large swaths of Texas are hundreds of miles from the nearest provider.
One proposal would ban a common second-trimester procedure. Another would bar state funding for abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood. A third would require fetal remains to be buried or cremated.
Meanwhile, dozens of clinics shuttered under the now-quashed law have remained closed, unable to muster the resources to reopen in a politically hostile, regulation-heavy environment. Texas has become the model for states that want to chip away at legal abortion until it is outlawed, while dodging court precedents that knock down laws.

Did you catch that phrasing in the last sentence?: chip away at legal abortion until it is outlawed. Is the legal really needed there? Why not not simply say chip away at abortion until it it outlawed? Am I reading too much into it or does that single word hint at Politico's pro-abortion mindset on this report?

Throughout the story, the issue is cast in terms of women having to drive farther to terminate pregnancies ... abortion clinics being forced to close down ... and pro-choice activists being galvanized to speak out.

Did anyone at Politico consider a different kind of framing, one focused, say, on the reduced number of abortions in Texas and why pro-life voters welcome this trend? Probably not.

As we've noted repeatedly here at GetReligion, most abortion-related news stories heavily favor the pro-choice side. This is a long-standing and indisputable problem. If you somehow missed it previously, check out the classic 1990 Los Angeles Times series — written by the late David Shaw — that exposed rampant news media bias against abortion opponents.

This lengthy paragraph in the Politico piece, quoting a Planned Parenthood official named Sarah Wheat, seems to beg for a response from the pro-life side:

Wheat acknowledges, though, that the restrictions still on the books take a toll. When a woman goes to a clinic seeking an abortion, a doctor must ask if she wants to see a sonogram of the fetus. She must wait 24 hours for the abortion — a hurdle as clinics close and women must travel greater distances. And she has to go through and sign a 30-odd page packet of forms and waivers, and get the controversial “Women’s Right to Know” booklet, which makes discredited claims such as the link between abortion and breast cancer.

Alas, Politico does not afford the pro-life side an opportunity to respond.

That's no surprise, really. But it gives fair-minded readers — particularly those who consider abortion the taking of innocent life — a pretty clear idea of how much credence to put into this report.


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